Online college courses and Internet degree programs have been surfacing from a variety of Internet institutions that can provide students with not only classes to help them in high school, but as a way to help these students either prepare for college by earning credits or for those in college, there are nontraditional students and traditional students who are able to use online courses as a way to either prepare themselves for a more traditional college experience by earning credits towards their major or entirely completing their education online and receiving a degree from one of these universities.
However, there are questions as to whether online college classes or degree programs are as beneficial to students and questions as to whether they provide a quality education have often arisen, which has led many nontraditional students asking whether they are in a position to take advantage of an online degree program in order to earn their education in instances where attending traditional college classes may not be available. Essentially, many of these men and women who are looking to attend an online college course or pursue a degree from an online university are those who may have a job, other obligations that may prevent them from attending university classes, or there are some who may not live in an area where attending a traditional college or earning a degree from such an institution is possible.
Yet, there are questions as to whether all online courses in general are beneficial as many argue that students do not receive a quality education when a teacher and face-to-face interaction is not involved. However, there are arguments that when it comes to lower-level online classes, like those available to students who are in high school or lower grades, the quality of this educational experience may be quite poor while online college courses are under more scrutiny and may provide the quality education that a particular student is seeking.
As an example, an article on NYTimes.com stated that a survey by the Department of Education in 2009 “found benefits in online courses for college students, but it concluded that few rigorous studies had been done at the K-12 level, and policy makers ‘lack scientific evidence of the effectiveness’ of online classes.” There have been some concerns about students in high school, as an example, who may be taking courses online as a way to make up subjects they may have failed or as a way to more quickly complete their high school education and earn extra credits, but again, the question of quality comes into play.
However, when it comes to an online degree program, students do have options now that offer them an education from accredited online universities, and this is where many officials believe that students can take caution if they wish to avoid a lackluster educational experience or falling prey to an educational institution that offers online courses or degree programs for the simple purpose of turning a profit. While there are some online colleges and degree programs that do wish to simply get as many students signed up and through their courses as quickly as possible, essentially making them degree factories, a quality education will obviously take time and hard work, but since there are accredited online institutions, this is now more possible in the world of Internet education than previously before.
If students wish to guard themselves against an online university that does not provide an excellent education, they must simply look at schools they are planning to attend through these online courses and seek out any accreditation that these schools may have. Obviously, there are more popular online universities that are nationally known, and these institutions may be able to provide an excellent education and learning experience, but again research must be done on the part of a student before they choose to enroll in a particular online college. However, major universities are also offering distance education courses and even online degree programs as well, so students may now have more opportunities to earn a degree that is offered from a traditional college, even if they cannot take classes on campus.